Quick Draw: Did Salman Rushdie invent the Aero bar?

In Quick Draw, Sophie Quick answers the obscure literary questions you never actually asked.

No, Salman Rushdie did not invent the Aero, but the Booker prize-winner did play a role in inventing the modern image of the famous chocolate bar. This is the true scandal of his career.

The Aero bar was invented in 1935 by a confectionary company in York, England, called Rowntree's. The Aero was, of course, a brutal hoax: a bunch of air pockets separated by a wretched brown lattice, then wrapped in pretty paper and flogged to innocent consumers. In the 1970s, Rowntree's decided the Aero needed a rebrand and engaged the services of an advertising agency in London. Enter Salman Rushdie, then a young, London-based copywriter. It was Rushdie who invented the Aero's famous 'irresistibubble' tag; the cutesy slogan working to dupe a whole new generation of honest snackers into parting with cash for pre-packaged air.

Rushdie worked in advertising for quite a few years (and while he was writing Midnight's Children) and 'irresistibubble' was not his only famous campaign. He also worked on campaigns for American Express, coining a tagline that ran in Britain during the eighties: 'American Express? That'll do nicely'.

80s and 90s UK Adverts: American Express: That'll do Nicely!

And speaking of 'nicely' and 'nice' – words too often maligned as boring and banal – the future Booker Prize winner was a big fan of both during his copywriting years. Rushdie also came up with 'Naughty. But nice.' – a slogan for cream cakes.

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